On our short list of friends we made in Hawaii a couple posts back there was one important omission. There was one friend so good that we decided to take her with us. Melinda is a Coast Guard certified captain, submarine tour guide and pilot, boat builder par excellence, and quite a character on her own. She is the perfect combination between your sweet granny, who can stroll down the beach with her grand daughter or all by herself, picking up pretty shells and stones, and that very little girl that was just with her, perfectly happy to just play around with the jewels she has just collected.

So we decided to convince her to sign on as crew for the voyage, and we did not need to push that very hard. She had previous blue water experience, she wanted more, she was ready to quite her two jobs in order to do it. Now she did step into the tradition of people who came aboard Aluna with an attitude of absolute dedication, like Kiko and Thomas coming to the launch, working from sunup to sundown and we literally had to beg them to stop for food breaks. Thomas also accompanied us on Aluna’s maiden voyage from San Francisco to Hawai’i, he flew down from Seattle over a weekend a month before to help out and make sure things were ready. So we were a little worried when we heard that Malinda had plans to take her newly acquired catamaran out of the water the week before our departure, move to a new apartment in Hilo and then come aboard literally at the last minute in Honomalino Bay on June 15. But it all seemed to work out somehow. After an apparently quite hectic day of last minute chores and purchases she was driven down there by our good friend Stephen, I paddled Alunita around the headland heavy with fresh food provisions, while Malinda walked along the beach. Once Alunita was unloaded I picked her up just before it was getting dark. Now only Alunita needed to be taken apart and secured on deck and we were ready to set sail into the dark night.

Melinda was excellent crew, a little absent-minded at times, but always ready to jump into action when needed. Nothing could scare her out of her calm. She handled the ropes like a man, steered Aluna with precision and feeling and never tired to express her appreciation of the beauty of the sea and sky around us. It was not until about a week out at sea that the problem came to show its face. With her typical no big deal way of approaching things, she pops out of the companion way one day saying: “I think I forgot my passport at home.” You see I didn’t even put an exclamation mark there. I guess Malinda, never having been abroad in her life imagined that she could get into another country just by showing her drivers license. Anyway, there was not much we could do about it out there but wait and see.

Once we went to the local gendarmerie here in Taiohae, the magnitude of the problem became more evident. She was not allowed to step on land and would have to stay on the boat, that was the official stance! It took us four days, we looked into having the passport shipped here, or to Tahiti, thought about getting her a berth in another sailboat heading to Papeete, finally got a hold of the consular agent of the US in Tahiti, the only diplomatic representation here. He worked the system, which to Malinda’s despair worked like any bureaucratic organism, slow and unwillingly. Her identity had to be verified, that verification needed to be faxed to the police station, pictures of her were taken for the purpose, many phone calls done, her friend Tom from Hawaii who lives here on Nuku Hiva was alerted and tracked us down to come and help, more phone calls, flight postponements, idling waiting hours and so on and so on.

Finally on Wednesday morning the gendarme gave the go ahead and Malinda was off in the taxi towards the airport for the local Air Tahiti flight to Papeete. We later learned the there were more hurdles waiting for her there, customs needed more paperwork, so an actual visit to the consulate was necessary and I’m just guessing that poor Malinda had to scratch her plans to do some sight seeing in Tahiti. I’m hoping she got at least her culinary desire for lemon crêpes fulfilled. We learned yesterday that she finally made it home Saturday morning and I’m just about certain that for her next trip abroad she will pack her passport very carefully! Thank you Malinda for all your help, for blessing Aluna with your skills and with your feisty character!

4 Responses to “Malinda!”

  1. Paz Says:

    So glad to hear about your adventures, than you Melinda for helping my friends get there safe and sound and hope you will not forget your passport ever!
    Besos a todos

  2. Hide&Junko Says:

    Hey Beatriz, Beat, and Malinda!

    Congrats on safely arriving to your destination!!! So happy to know that you guys are safe & sound. We didn’t have GPS to follow this time, it was a bit tooooooo thrilling for us…. Have a nice rest & hopefully talk to you soon! love, Junko & Hide & Sasori

    • alunaboat Says:

      Hey Junko, Hide & Sasori Yeah, we know, a lot of people were worried, the US Coast Guard was looking for us, since one of Malinda’s friends couldn’t take it anymore and reported Aluna as missing! We had always in the back of our minds to be able to make it further upwind and sail to the Marquesas before heading further South to Tahiti, so we tired, and tried, and tried, and finally made it! Thanks for thinking in us! We’re trying to update the blog with more stories, but the internet is soooo sloooooow!!! I’ve been trying to upload a one minute video of some really interesting dances for two days now, no luck yet! Beat & Beatriz

  3. Thomas Says:

    ….yes about the uscg! Kiko called and asked me to report my knowledge of Aluna to them. So I dutifully described her CA registration number (got it off a video) and what safety equipment she had onboard – Love and happiness. I left out all the fun parts about hulls tied together with craigslist rope, bamboo and tarp sails, nothing but the best of rope from home depot, decks made from old futon frames and rejected demo redwood decking. They would probably have kicked you guys out of the US ….oh they did that already for being not with the system. I thought it funny that once you were gone from the capital shores then they got all concerned about your welfare. But no worries Aluna is a perfect little island and inhabited by happy funny artists and their motely band of dreamers. Sail on while others grind the wheel. If you need something, just say so I’m pretty good at getting things done – perhaps you need some of the best line from Home Depot or to “rent” a come-a-long for the day. I’d be happy to fly one down your way! Oh how are my two 9hp babies? Do they need a visit from me for a little love? Cheers Aluna!

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